Dr. Samuel McKinney, Veteran Pastor and Seattle Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 91

Samuel McKinney
Samuel McKinney

Reverend Dr. Samuel McKinney, who served as pastor of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1958 to 1998, has passed away at the age of 91.

Civil rights pioneer and community leader Revered Dr. Samuel McKinney, the longest-serving pastor of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1958 to 1998, has passed away at the age of 91.

“In the late 1950s and early ’60s, before there was civil rights legislation, voting rights legislation, he was in the forefront of fighting for, at that particular time negros, in the city of Seattle,” said Eddie Rye Jr., fellow civil rights activist and friend of McKinney’s for more than 60 years.

Samuel B. McKinney grew up in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1920s and 1930s as the son of a prominent and politically engaged black minister. He attended Morehouse College, where he was a classmate of civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the 1960s, McKinney took part in civil rights demonstrations in Seattle, Alabama and Washington, DC, and he he was instrumental in bringing Dr. King to Seattle in his only Seattle visit in 1961.

“He stayed with the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which was one of nonviolence but also a show of strength through unity,” said Rye.

After serving as a minister in Providence, RI, in the mid-1950s, McKinney moved to Seattle in 1958 to lead one of Seattle’s oldest and most prominent black churches, Mount Zion Baptist Church.

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SOURCE: Liza Javier, Ryan Takeo
KING 5 News

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